10 Productivity Apps Every Freelancer Needs to Know About
This article was submitted by Anna Johannson and does not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork. Find out how you can contribute to Upwork and promote your content.
Your time is valuable. And as a freelancer, you probably know this—down to the exact dollar amount. Assuming you’re getting paid $1,000 to complete a project, it’s better to complete that project in four hours than it is in six—not only will you make more per hour, but you’ll give yourself more time to work on what might be another $1,000 project.
This is intuitive, but many freelancers lose track of this notion, and end up spending far more time than they have to on tasks like sending emails, formatting invoices, and even completing their main line of work. Fortunately, engineers and innovators have noted these inefficiencies, and have designed productivity apps and tools to fill those productivity gaps—ultimately helping you get more done in less time:
EmailAnalytics is an email productivity app that measures and shows you exactly how you’re using Gmail or G Suite. You’ll learn how many emails you send and receive, your main senders and recipients, how long it takes you to reply to messages, and other data points you can use to find inefficiencies and areas for improvement. You can track how your email habits improve over time—all from one central dashboard.
Signing up for Trello is free, and its main features have a pretty forgiving learning curve, so you could hypothetically get started in minutes. Trello is a project management and collaboration app, with a signature design that relies on board, lists, and cards to help you assign tasks, monitor your progress, and work more efficiently—alone or in a group.
You need a time tracking app for your freelance operation, and you won’t find much better than Toggl. Toggl will help you keep track of the time you spend on all your projects and administrative tasks, helping you figure out your pain points with individual clients or drawing your attention to high-level tasks that are eating up too much of your time.
Being a freelancer means a never-ending need for client proposals. Drafting all those documents and sending them out manually can take up hours of your time every week, but Proposify makes things simper, giving you the ability to create and modify templates, so you can generate new proposals almost automatically.
Todoist is another app designed to help you manage your projects and tasks. It’s a centralized location where you can create, manage, and execute high-level and low-level tasks throughout the day.
Omnifocus is an all-in-one task management and organization app that helps you keep track of both your personal and professional projects, which as a freelancer, might overlap at times. The signature characteristic here is segmented views, which help you plan, perform, and forecast each task.
Keeping track of all your client meeting notes, reminders, and action items is tough work—especially when you’re working in so many different locations and contexts throughout the day. The Evernote app serves as your “second brain,” keeping all your notes organized in one cloud-based location so you don’t forget anything, and have easy access to all your planned tasks.
Wave is an all-in-one software platform designed to streamline the process of tracking expenses, sending invoices, and balancing your books. It’s free (with the exception of payment processing) and designed with small businesses in mind, so there’s a lot to like here.
Of all the tools on this list, IFTTT (short for “if this, then that”) is probably the most flexible. It’s completely free, and compatible with pretty much any app or device you’re already using. The whole premise is to turn on “recipes,” or short code snippets that automate some task you’d otherwise have to do manually, such as sending an email or publishing a social media post in response to some other digital event.
Upwork is where you find new clients and advertise yourself, so what’s it doing on a list of productivity tools? If you’re facing a professional problem, whether it’s finding enough time to tackle all the work on your plate or handling an issue in which you have no expertise, Upwork can help you connect to someone who can help you. Temporary business partners, referral sources, independent contractors, and subcontractors are all there for your disposal.
Every freelancer needs something different, but any freelancer can optimize their productivity to get more billable work and administrative tasks done in a single day. Downloading these productivity apps, many of which are free (or offer a free trial) can maximize the efficiency and profitability of your business.